Unraveling Pochettino’s Mudryk Dilemma: Could Chelsea Hold the Key Solution?
Mykhailo Mudryk needs a loan move away from Chelsea.
It seems like a bizarre statement to make in regards to a player who cost an initial €70 million, but the Ukrainian’s first 12 months at Stamford Bridge have been largely underwhelming.
He’s shown signs of real promise on occasion and after netting against Fulham and Arsenal in October, things looked wholly positive for the 23-year-old.
However, Mudryk has regressed since then and he’s played just 76 minutes of a possible 360 since being hooked at half-time during the second-leg of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough on 23 January.
The Blues absolutely dominated Michael Carrick’s side on the night, but Mudryk stood out like a sore thumb on the left flank.
His pace is electric and his combination play with Nicolas Jackson has caught the eye several times, but Mudryk’s inability to keep possession or make clever in-behind runs have held Chelsea back this campaign and it led to his early withdrawal against Boro.
He remains extremely raw and his lack of senior career minutes is evident.
FootballTransfers understand that Mudryk did ask to leave Chelsea on loan in January, but that request was denied amid the Blues’ relative lack of winger options.
Mudryk is certainly a useful tool for Pochettino, however he is yet to display evidence that he is ready for a regular spot in the starting XI.
As a result, many Chelsea fans have called for Tyrique George to be promoted into the first-team as his replacement.
Tyrique George to replace Mudryk?
Like Mudryk, George is best off the left flank as he is able to cut inside onto his stronger right foot and utilise his immense ball-striking ability.
The 18-year-old has eight goals and two assists in all competitions for Chelsea’s youth sides so far this season and his latest strike against Crystal Palace in the FA Youth Cup has sparked rumours of a first-team call-up.
George is a world-class talent and his form is perhaps deserving of a chance to prove himself in the first-team. Amid pressure on Pochettino, however, he is unlikely to receive this opportunity.
The teenager is one of the highest-level talents to emerge from Cobham in recent years and comparisons have been made to the very best academy products who developed at Chelsea.
However, while his form is fantastic and his potential is sky-high, George is yet to become a starter at U23 level.
The winger has appeared seven times for Chelsea’s U23 side this season, scoring once, but he is yet to start a Premier League 2 match. Instead, he has been a regular contributor for Chelsea’s U18s.
A slow development is wise, but calls for George to replace Mudryk in the first-team are potentially a little early as he is yet to make a mark at U23 level.
However, Kobbie Mainoo has proven that an 18-year-old with no senior football experience is able to impact Premier League games, so if Pochettino wants a left-field shout to solve his Mudryk problem, then George could be the answer.
Despite this, a more reasonable option would be to use Nicolas Jackson as a left winger, following his impressive performance against Aston Villa, but that could limit Cole Palmer’s influence as the England international may continue being used in an unnatural false nine role.
Either way, George deserves a chance to prove himself at Chelsea, although it may be best to wait until he is making a more regular impact at U23 level before throwing him into the deep end of Premier League football.
Read more about: Premier League, Chelsea, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Nicolas Jackson, Tyrique George.